Volunteer Richard tends to Brightwater Home’s garden

Brightwater Home resident Tracey and volunteer Richard watch the herb garden bloom and grow.

Brightwater Home resident Iris’s husband, Richard, visits every day to have lunch with her.

Iris moved into Enliven’s Brightwater Home permanently in November 2019, transitioning from respite care when her mobility became compromised.

Inspired by Iris’ career teaching horticulture and his own love of the land in his work with the New Zealand Dairy Board, Richard has volunteered his time tending to the home’s Eden and Heron Gardens. So far he’s painted garden seats, weeded and planted roses.

“I’m slowly tidying up,” says Richard. “I’ve found tools in the various sheds around the place that I can use and I make the most of what’s there by repurposing materials and plants.”

Another example of Brightwater Home’s approach to sustainability is evident in the newly-created herb garden which Recreation officer Paulette Bain has been overseeing.

Leftover plastic bottles have been planted with herbs grown from supermarket giveaways and mounted on a donated wooden pallet. Water from the top plants trickles down and waters the plants in the second tier. Paulette says the fresh herbs will be used in the meals cooked at Brightwater Home.

Speaking of which, Richard says the measure of a place like Brightwater Home is evident in the time staff spend there.

“The last chef stayed 17 years,” he says. “I really enjoy spending time at Brightwater Home, it’s like having another family. Iris is looked after as well as she possibly can be. I really missed her and everyone at Brightwater Home over the Covid-19 lockdown and I know the residents missed visitors too.”

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